Shrugging and poking fun at authoritarian behavior, clicking on Facebook posts about ICE demanding to see identification on domestic Amtrak trains with an angry emoji and calling it activism, and succumbing to ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ over calling and marching isn’t the only unlearned lesson from history. FEMA hasn’t learned from the disastrous lessons of Hurricane Katrina either.
From The New York Times: The mission for the Federal Emergency Management Agency was clear: Hurricane Maria had torn through Puerto Rico, and hungry people needed food. Thirty million meals needed to be delivered as soon as possible.
For this huge task, FEMA tapped Tiffany Brown, an Atlanta entrepreneur with no experience in large-scale disaster relief and at least five canceled government contracts in her past. FEMA awarded her $156 million for the job, and Ms. Brown, who is the sole owner and employee of her company, Tribute Contracting LLC, set out to find some help.
Good intentions without follow-through only help the one with good intentions to feel warm and fuzzy. And blaming others (FEMA blames Ms. Brown, Ms. Brown blames FEMA, the subcontractors blame Ms. Brown, Ms. Brown says ¯\_(ツ)_/¯, and Puerto Rico is left with crackers, chips, and dirty water. Oh, and paper towels.
Read the NYT article that highlights what happened, or didn’t happen, by October 19th when the TRIBUTE contract was cancelled. (And remember that this was the 6th FEMA government contract cancelled with TRIBUTE.)
Here’s one more gem: In November, The Associated Press found that after Hurricane Maria, FEMA awarded more than $30 million in contracts for emergency tarps and plastic sheeting to a company that never delivered the needed supplies.
Let’s all be just a little better than FEMA. Let’s plan for what we CAN do, and then follow-through with action.
Here are a few tools: